In February, Scott Pruitt was confirmed as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As expected, his confirmation was denounced by progressives, who argued that Pruitt has no interest in enforcing environmental laws.
For example, 447 former EPA officials sent a letter to the U.S. Senate, strongly urging a vote against Pruitt.
“Pruitt’s record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not agree with the underlying principles of our environmental laws,” stated the letter, according to a news release from the Environmental Integrity Group.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, “We need an EPA administrator whose priority is the safety of people, not the profits of the fossil fuel industry. Pruitt is not that person.”
Many members of the mass media expressed alarm as well. An Esquire piece titled, “This Scott Pruitt Insanity Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention,” called Pruitt’s nomination a “fundamental absurdity.”
But others took a different stance, arguing that during the Obama administration, EPA had stretched its regulatory reach to the point of zealotry. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wrote in a Springfield News-Leader piece, titled, “Pruitt the Needed Change to Head EPA” that “[Pruitt] recognizes that a clean environment and a vibrant economy do not have to be mutually exclusive. As Oklahoma attorney general, he has repeatedly taken on the tough fights to stop the regulatory overreach of the past decade.”
Likewise, a December 2016 National Review piece titled, “No, Scott Pruitt at the EPA Will Not Be a Threat to the Planet,” argued that under the Obama administration, EPA was more concerned with promoting a “radical ideological agenda” than legitimate environmental protection, exploiting meaningful legislation such as the 1972 Clean Water Act in the name of environmental righteousness. A Pruitt-led EPA, the author wrote, could restore the agency to its proper role: mediator.
Now that doesn't sound so scary.